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Participation key to strong democracy

2 April 2006 Media Statement

Participation key to strong democracy

It's important that Mâori like all New Zealanders are able to participate fully in the electoral process, the Ministers of Justice and Mâori Affairs, Mark Burton and Parekura Horomia said today.

The Mâori Electoral Option, which starts tomorrow (Monday 3 April) will provide Mâori voters the choice of which roll – General or Mâori – they want to be on, and encourage those who are not on either roll to enrol.

When the Mâori Electoral Option is completed the number of Maori enrolled will be used to help work out the number of Maori and General Electorates for the 2008 and 2011 General Elections. There are currently 62 General Electorates and seven Mâori Electorates.

“Mâori who are already enrolled won’t get this choice again until 2012, after two more elections have been held, so it’s important to take part,” says Mark Burton.

“A major drive is also on during this time to encourage Mâori who aren’t enrolled, or who have moved house but not updated their details, to enrol,” Mark Burton says. "A democracy is only as strong as the willingness of its citizens to participate in the decision-making process."

“The 2006 Mâori Electoral Option is an important part of the electoral process and a significant historical event for Mâori electoral participation,” says Mr Horomia.

“It encourages Mâori to think about whether they want to stay on the roll they’re on – whether it’s the Mâori roll or the General roll,” says Mr Horomia.

The 2006 Mâori Electoral Option runs from Monday 3 April until Wednesday 2 August 2006.

More information about the Mâori Electoral Option is available from:

http://www.elections.org.nz/main-meo.html

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